Damming the Refugee River to Greece By Evaggelos Vallianatos
(A map of Greece. The original map is work of Klaudios Ptolemaios, Greek geographer, astronomer and mathematician, 2nd century Alexandria. The map was published during the Renaissance. It now belongs to the Cultural Foundation of the National Bank of Greece. I have permission to use the image.)
I watched the Greek elections of September 20, 2015. I was visiting the country, speaking to Greeks in villages, small towns and cities. I also started conversations with Greeks in buses, trains, museums, coffee shops and universities.
National debt remains at the center of political discourse in Greece. Greeks watch an endless TV political theater about their country’s debt. What they see and hear astonish and infuriates them. Who should they support? Probably less than fifty percent of the Greeks voted. The majority of the rest voted for Alexis Tsipras and his party known as Syriza.
This is a bad dream come true. Syriza is an agglomeration of communist, leftist, and anarchist groups that hate Greece. Tsipras cut his teeth in his student days in protests and shutting down schools.
The metaphysics guiding Tsipras and his followers are those of communism of the 1940s: no more national countries and long live the proletariat.
Tsipras and his comrades do not feel comfortable in Greece with a long and glorious ancient tradition. They want to abolish that tradition, so they are as fanatical as the early Christians who smashed Greek temples and burned libraries.
Tsipras and Syriza cannot burn libraries but are using the soft rhetoric of globalization and humanitarianism and fear of Turkey to accomplish the same thing.
The rivers of migrants from the Moslem Middle East have been a heavenly gift to Tsipras – and Turkey. Most of the refugees arrive in a state of shock at the Greek island of Lesbos, a few miles from the Turkish coast.
Despite the potential danger to Greece from migrants and the “tide of migrant trafficking” crashing on Greek islands, Tsipras keeps the Greek borders open. This policy, the only one in Europe, facilitates Turkey’s plans of conquering Greece without firing a shot. Just push large number of war refugees onto the vulnerable islands of the Aegean. Without doubt, among these impoverished Moslems there will be plenty of Turkish agents and, possibly, enough Jihadists ready to fight for their crusading Islamic ideas.
A conflict among refugees and Greek authorities in Lesbos is possible. Lesbos has too many Moslem refugees, but it cannot cope with them. The island is as much in shock as are the destitute migrants. Nevertheless, a conflict between Greeks and Moslems in Lesbos could trigger a Turkish invasion. Turkey would say it had to intervene to protect the Moslem refugees.
This is not speculation or nationalism, though I love Greece.
Greeks and Turks have great difficulties living in the same neighborhood. Turkey has been violating Greek air space almost daily for several decades.
This Turkish aggression comes from history. Turkey enslaved Greece for about four centuries, doing all the abominations of conquerors: stealing land, killing, raping, looting, and endless humiliations. Finally the Greeks revolted and won their independence in 1828.
The Tsipras administration pretends no such wall or history exists. For example, Nikos Filis, Greek minister of education, denies the Turkish genocide against the Greeks of Pontos, a slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Greeks by Turkish troops after WWI. Those Greeks lived for millennia by the Black Sea, which the Greeks called Pontos.
A daughter of a Pontian genocide survivor, Thea Halo, who is the author of “Not Even My Name,” sent a letter to the Greek politicians, November 5, 2015, in which she said she found Filis’ remarks “offensive and disrespectful to the memory of the 353,000 Pontians who were murdered outright or perished.”
Meanwhile, in 2015, both the Tsipras administration and the Turkish government pretend the Greek islands of the Aegean belong to nobody. Almost daily, dozens and, sometimes, hundreds of Moslems enter Greece through the Turkish coast across from the Aegean islands. Syrian refugees, including Kurds, pay thousands of dollars to Turkish criminals who lead them through Turkey for the short trip across the Aegean Sea to Greek islands like Lesbos and Kos.
Clearly, Turkish authorities encourage and possibly fund this “humanitarian” invasion of Greece. It’s also possible Turkey is decimating its own Kurdish population, forcing Kurds to become refugees.
Equally damning, the Greek government is doing practically nothing to protect its borders and, at least, regulate the influx of non-Greeks into Greece.
The third factor is that of the European Union whose borders are the unprotected borders of Greece. The EU is offering to absorb some of the refugees and fund some of the costs of feeding and housing the vast majority of them in Greece.
But European countries are not enthusiastic about accepting Moslems to their societies. Slovakia, for example, said it would accept only Christian migrants. Hungary sealed off its borders to refugees.
Both the US and EU should immediately dam the refugee river before it overwhelms Greece and Europe. They should order Turkey to cease directing refugees towards Greece. The EU should also protect the Greek borders. And if Tsipras says no, he should be kicked out of office.
The US invasion of the Middle East started this catastrophic human river to Greece and Europe. The US has the responsibility to join Russia in helping Syria to end its civil war. That would put a considerable brake to the exodus of millions of people out of the Middle East.
Evaggelos Vallianatos, Ph.D., is the author of several books, including “Poison Spring,” with McKay Jenkins (Bloomsbury Press, 2014).